Rangers’ Patrik Nemeth dealing with lingering effects of COVID-19

The Rangers put Patrik Nemeth on injured reserve Wednesday, after the veteran defenseman was sidelined for the five games leading up to their two-week recess and again in their first contest back against the Bruins on Tuesday.

Team policy prevents the Rangers from disclosing the reason, but it is believed that Nemeth is dealing with lingering effects from his bout with COVID-19 in late December.

Nemeth entered COVID protocol on Dec. 18, but the 30-year-old didn’t miss a game due to a brief lull in the schedule for Christmas. Once he cleared COVID protocols, Nemeth admitted he had some cold-like symptoms the first two or three days before they dissipated.

After skating in the two games on the Rangers’ trip to Florida on Dec. 29 and 31, Nemeth sat out of the first two matchups of 2022 against the Lightning and Oilers before he was added to non-roster status on Jan. 5.

The non-roster status stretched over the next two games against the Golden Knights and Ducks. Nemeth then returned to the lineup in the Jan. 10 loss to the Kings and skated in the next five games. Prior to the 3-2 shootout win over Los Angeles, head coach Gerard Gallant said there was a “banged up” defenseman, which he later confirmed was Nemeth after the Swede was scratched.

Upon return from the All-Star break, Nemeth was a full participant in the practices leading up to the Boston game.

Rangers Patrik Nemeth
Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth has been out of the lineup because of lingering effects of COVID-19.
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Nemeth, who signed a three-year, $7.5 million deal with the Rangers as a free agent this past offseason, has appeared in 38 games so far as part of the third pair. He has posted two assists while averaging over 17 minutes per game.

Tapping into their protective instincts on Tuesday against the Bruins, the Rangers have set the tone for how they will answer opponents who dare come near goalie Igor Shesterkin.

In the second period of the Rangers’ eventual 2-1 shootout win, Bruins star David Pastrnak embellished a shove from defenseman Adam Fox and knocked into Shesterkin, who was playing the puck. Pastrnak hadn’t even gotten to the Bruins bench to change before Ryan Reaves upended the top-line forward.

Craig Smith was the next Bruin who came too close to Shesterkin, after the winger barreled into the Vezina Trophy favorite on a drive to the net. Without hesitation, Alexis Lafreniere swooped in and went after Smith.

“We’re obviously very confident in both goalies we have,” defenseman Ryan Lindgren said. “They’ve both played very well this year. Igor, he’s had some games where he’s definitely stole it for us. Especially early on in the year. He’s just been so good throughout the year. We’re so confident in him – and [Alexandar Georgiev].

“The way that Igor plays the puck, especially as a defenseman, you’re very confident. It helps you out a lot. When pucks get dumped in and he’s out there and he’s making plays, some of the saves he makes are incredible obviously.”


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